A PERFECT MARVEL SUPERHERO
By Lee Parham
As Kumail Nanjiani prepares to make his superhero debut in Marvel's Eternals, we take a look back on the actor's unique journey to Hollywood stardom.
Some performers are born into stardom, others have to earn it, and then there's Eternals star Kumail Nanjiani, who paved the way for major representation in the industry with his latest career high.
Nanjiani was born in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan, where he grew up in a Shia Muslim home. The actor would move to America at 18 and enroll at Grinnell College in Iowa.
He began his acting career modestly, first appearing in brief guest spots on sketch comedy shows such as Saturday Night Live and The Colbert Report.
Saturday Night Live
Nanjiani additionally lent his talents to different internet-based projects, including a plethora of podcasts and web series for CollegeHumor.
After bouncing around from one minor project to the next, Kumail finally landed a role as a series regular in Franklin and Bash, a courtroom drama with a comedic twist.
He spent three seasons on the show, only to leave and join the ensemble cast of HBO comedy series Silicon Valley, which became a massive success and lasted six seasons.
While Nanjiani quickly made a name for himself on TV, he hadn't quite put his stamp on film, only cameoing in comedy films like Hot Tub Time Machine 2, Sex Life, and Central Intelligence.
However, this would not last, as the comedian drew from his real-life experiences with his wife Emily V. Gordon to craft a film script for The Big Sick, loosely based on their relationship.
Not only did The Big Sick provide much-needed representation for the Pakistani community, it garnered huge awards recognition, including a Best Original Screenplay Oscar nod for Nanjiani and Gordon.
Kumail had finally broken through in Hollywood, and the actor was now headlining the type of films he once only appeared in briefly.
Nanjiani starred in such comedies as Stuber, as an Uber driver helping a cop played by Dave Bautista, and Lovebirds, a romcom with a murderous twist featuring Issa Rae.
The actor also returned to SNL, but this time as the featured guest host. He starred in an episode of The Twilight Zone, and is set to join the Star Wars universe in Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Saturday Night Live
Finally, Kumail Nanjiani is joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Eternals as Kingo, a superhero disguised as a Bollywood star on Earth.
Eternals features some significant representation for the MCU. Academy Award-winning director Chloé Zhao directs a diverse cast, and she is the first woman of color to helm a Marvel film.
Going from humble beginnings to becoming one of the most influential actors working today, Kumail Nanjiani has taken the industry by storm with no signs of slowing down.